When creating video content, it’s natural to want it to go viral to maximize your earned media.
It’s easy to get so focused on achieving viral success that the core objective for your video content is for it to go viral.
This is what dreams are made of after all.
The problem is that achieving the kind of viral success that we’ve all seen other videos accomplish, is that it isn’t as simple as creating killer video content, posting it on YouTube, and then watching your view count skyrocket.
There are many factors that affect a video’s likelihood of ‘going viral’, and many of which are either beyond your control, or take huge amounts of time or financial resources to achieve.
Many branded viral videos achieve that status by being supported by a sizable seeding campaign. When a video is produced, companies will invest huge dollars in paid media to drive views of their YouTube content, pay to have high-profile sites and blogs host the content, and will put PR initiatives in place to raise the profile of their content to garner more views.
This type of seeding program can cost huge dollars. Consider this, I recently ran a YouTube TrueView campaign and achieved a cost per view (CPV) of roughly 5 cents.
Pretty good right?
We’ll, it is. But if you wanted to achieve 1 million views, you’d need to invest $50,000 in paid media to hit this milestone.
What about seeding video content amongst your own community, you might be thinking?
Good thought, but again, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Let’s consider the success that some large brands have had in recent history. Evian and their latest ‘viral hit’ Baby&Me is bearing down on hitting 50,000,000 views on YouTube. 50 MILLION!
Now, take a look on their Facebook Timeline at the number of actions their cross-promotional updates have achieved. Just a ballpark guess, maybe 4,000-5,000 actions. Maybe. Pretty awesome, but this surely can’t account for the 50 million views the video has achieved.
So, you’ve got to think that there are some serious dollars being invested to seed this content or drive views via paid media.
How about Red Bull and their viral success?
Well, Red Bull has a massive social media community; right around 38,000,000 fans on Facebook, and a bit over 1,000,000 followers on Twitter.
With a community of this size, and with the incredible volume of content Red Bull produces, they do have a greater chance of organically seeding content and having it go viral.
But, how did they acquire all of these fans and followers? I can tell you that many organizations pay big dollars on Facebook ad buys to acquire fans. Typically, a cost of $1-2 per fan acquisition is thought to be average when doing so through advertising. So, even at $1 per fan, many large communities have probably invested big dollars to acquire these staggering numbers of fans.
We’ve also got to factor in the cost of sustaining a publication calendar as robust as Red Bull’s. They have an in-house media production division, pay large sums of money to sponsor the world’s top extreme athletes, sponsor many high-profile competitions and events, and more. They’ve invested so heavily in these areas, that they’ve achieved near-ubiquity in extreme sports. All of these things that contribute to Red Bull’s ability to regularly achieve viral success cost huge sums of money.
The purpose of this article isn’t to discourage you from dreaming big and creating amazing video content, but rather to help you focus your attention and effort on what is truly important.
When producing video content, make sure you’re adding huge value to your existing audience. They’ll love you for it and it will help you to convert consumers to loyalists, and loyalists to ambassadors.
If your aim is to grow your audience and acquire new consumers, then consider a seeding program for your content. You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars, or millions of dollars to achieve great results. Be smart with the advertising dollars you have, invest time and energy to understand who your target audience should be, and you’ll see new people joining your communities in no time.
What measures do you use to gauge the success of your video content?
Have any of your videos gone ‘viral’? If so, how did you accomplish that?
It would be great to chat with you more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Astronaut Chris Hadfield has successfully returned from a 5-month mission as commander aboard the ISS and has undoubtedly inspired a generation through his unprecedented use of social media and content creation.
When reviewing the history of his busy orbital publication calendar, it became clear that there are many important lessons and reminders about social media and content development that businesses, brands, marketers and advertisers can benefit from.
Here are 7 things that stood out to me from Chris’ success on social media:
1 – Even a tweeting astronaut needs a little help from a social media team
Chris’s son, Evan, was responsible for helping his father carry on conversations, post updates, link to related content, and more.
Establishing, nurturing and engaging social media communities can be significant work and can benefit from having multiple people not only contributing to day-to-day management, but also to strategy, content ideas, creative approaches to using social media platforms, content curation, production management, and more.
2 – It’s okay to laugh a little
With relative frequency, Chris posted updates that were light and humourous.
Humour is a fantastic way to entertain an audience, demonstrate personality, add variety to your content mix, make yourself seem approachable, and attract new audience members to your community.
3 – Even if you’re in space, you should remember that your audience is on Earth
Virtually all of Chris’ social media updates satiated the appetite of average people to learn the fundamentals of what it is like to experience living in space.
Oftentimes, the best performing educational content will not be the most advanced. The reason why most people seek out information online and through social media networks is because they don’t have a deep understanding – such as formal education or vast experience – of the subject matter that is of interest to them. Therefore, they’ll benefit most from what you might consider to be fundamental.
4 – Plan ahead to optimize your production value
It is clear that some of the content Chris produced while on the ISS was pre-planned, and it showed in the production value (view Chris Hadfield’s fantastic reimagining of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” here).
Planning the creation of content affords you the ability to think about optimal production techniques and processes, refine ideas, edit for superior quality, be comfortable and confident in your performance (if applicable), assemble a team to assist you, and achieve greater production value than would otherwise be possible.
5 – Involve your community of Earthlings
Throughout his mission, Chris responded to questions, video conferenced, and encouraged his audience to engage with his content.
It seems a bit silly to say, but don’t forget that social media should be social. Businesses and brands frequently operate in a vacuum on social media, treating it more like a broadcast platform than a tool through which to interact and engage with their audiences. Be social and get your audience involved.
6 – What seems mundane to you, can be fascinating to others
Many of Chris Hatfield’s most popular social media content is of his everyday experiences in space, which proved to be fascinating.
You are an expert in your field for a reason. You have experience and knowledge that others do not possess. You probably are chalk full of information, ideas, and experiences that your audience would find fascinating for you to share, even if to you it seems mundane and relatively basic.
7 – Add value by offering a new perspective
When you think of an astronaut engaging an audience on social media from space, you probably think they’ll be focused on the stars, planets, the vastness of space, and more otherworldly things. While Chris could have published content about these things, he chose to focus much of his attention back at Earth, effectively giving us a new perspective on ourselves.
Sometimes there is huge value to offer by giving your audience a new perspective on subject matter that is familiar to them. Whether you are creating content, or refining the value proposition of your business, try not to overlook what your consumers might think they already know, and try offering them a new view on the familiar. It can be extremely powerful.
What are your most memorable moments of Chris Hadfield’s mission and activity on social media?
Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial, it would be fun to geek out with you about this.
When you get your business blog started, it’s tempting to invest in a custom blog design, theme customization, or other features that will set your business’ blog apart from the rest.
My advice on this is quite simple; DON’T.
Don’t pay anything from a tech or development standpoint to get your blog up and running, particularly before you’ve figured out exactly what you will be blogging about, how your blog will contribute to your business goals, how you plan to convert your readership, and have experience blogging for some time.
There are a huge number of free options
WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr are fantastic blogging platforms, and for basic features, they’re free.
When you’re getting started, don’t feel pressure to invest in something that is beyond your needs. Even free blogging platforms offer vast feature sets and options for customization.
It might take a while to determine your needs
It’s immensely difficult to determine exactly which features are going to be desirable and useful for your blog and to your consumers until you get started and see how it is going to evolve and grow.
Spend time utilizing a free blogging platform so you will better understand which features will be most valuable to invest in when the time is right to customize your blogging experience.
Establish blogging as part of your routine
The number of custom designed blogs I’ve seen that haven’t been updated in over a year is staggering.
Before making a significant investment in you business’ blogging platform, make sure that blogging is going to be something you can sustain, and that will yield real business results. When you do, you’ll better understand your potential ROI and will be able to make informed decisions about your investment.
In time, you might find more cost-effective solutions
Robust developer communities support many of the large blogging CMS platforms. This means there are a huge number of developers and designers who are sharing their themes, templates, designs, plug-ins, and more for affordable rates, and in some cases for free. Chances are that even if you have very specific requirements in mind for the function, format or features of your business blog, that there is probably someone out there who has already developed a low cost solution that you can take advantage of.
Instead of rushing into making decisions about every last detail to do with the design and function of your blog and relaying those to your developer, take your time to see if there are more affordable solutions that you can implement. Chances are, there will be.
At the end of the day, your business blog is all about value
The value you offer consumers with your content should be the focus of your business’ blogging efforts, not the minutia of every little detail of design and functionality.
When you’re just getting started blogging for your business, don’t get caught up in all of the bells and whistles. Instead, focus on producing killer content that is going to build, sustain, engage and provide value to your current and prospective consumers.
Instead of investing heavily in the custom development or design of a blog for your business, invest resources in producing absolutely killer content for your targeted consumers, and promoting that content through relevant channels. The results you will achieve by providing valuable and engaging content will far outweigh the results you can achieve by paying to add the one or two features or design flourishes that you’d ideally like to see on your blog.
Be patient in the short-term and develop blogging to become an integral part of your business’ value proposition. When you’ve gained enough experience to see what works and what doesn’t, you’ll be in a better position to make wise investment decisions for customizing your business’ blog for you, and your consumers’ needs.
What blogging CMS do you use for your business?
If you use a common blogging CMS, what features or limitations would you love to see implemented?
In your experience, what has been the single most valuable aspect of blogging for your business?
It would be great to chat with you about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Photo Credit: Veer
Your business’ social media community can be an invaluable asset when working through product or service development.
The engagement and activation of your community can assist with virtually every stage of product development including idea generation, concept screening, concept development, commercial viability analysis, beta testing, and commercialization and launch.
There a huge number of ways that your community can contribute to product development, so I’ll just highlight a few to serve as thought-starters for the next time you plan to expand your product or service offerings.
Social listening for idea generation and analysis
Social media platforms such as Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Pinterest give you the ability to listen to your consumers and those within your target demographic to learn about their wants and needs, what they are hoping for from you and your competition, what trends are relevant to your business, how your consumers use your products, and more.
Not only can this information be used for idea generation, but also it can be invaluable when analysing your ideas and developing criteria for screening the gold from the pyrite.
Polls and surveys for idea generation, screening, concept development, and testing commercial viability
Tools such as Facebook polls and Survey Monkey can be used to survey your social media communities and very specific sub-segments of your consumer base to dig deeper into specifics that will lead to strong idea generation and direct feedback to screen those ideas. The benefit of these tools is that you can ask participants very specific questions, resulting in very specific answers that should help to move your product/service development process forward.
Polls and surveys can also be used when you’re past the idea generation phase of your product development process to narrow in on desirable features, potential usage behaviour, identifying likely consumers for this new product/service, and more. All of this information can be invaluable when developing your concepts, testing for commercial viability, and moving into concept or beta testing.
Community involvement and feedback during iterative testing
Who better to test your products as they’re being developed and refined than individuals within your social media community? So long as you’re not developing a top-secret product offering, members of your community will likely be thrilled at the opportunity test and provide feedback on your latest products as they’re being developed. Depending on the category in which you compete, and the loyalty of your consumers, those chosen to participate may even see this as a reward.
Conversely, recruiting loyal members of your competition’s communities to test and provide feedback is a great way to gain a broader perspective on your concepts.
Launching with confidence, pre-established consumer excitement and anticipation
When it comes time to finally launch your new product, you’ll be able to do so with increased confidence that it will be a commercial success. Involving your social media audience will have helped to ensure that your product development efforts were focused on producing something that will be desirable.
Also, by involving your social media audience in the development of your product, you will have effectively pre-established consumer excitement and anticipation for your launch. Your product development process will have become a story that loyal and highly interested consumers will have followed, shared, and conversed with others about. Your product development can be incredibly effective for feeding your content pipeline.
Frequently the product development process is done in isolation, secrecy, and with limited consumer involvement. In a business landscape where consumers have increasing power and input into business and brands’ definition and success, it only seems logical to involve them when creating offerings for them.
How do you use social media as a part of your product or service development process?
If you have used social media for this purpose, what advantages have you experienced?
What difficulties have you experienced from trying to involve your audience?
It would be great to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial